A System's Approach to Sustainable Development

Check out "Practice of Sustainable Community Development" a new book published by R. Warren Flint of Five E's Unlimited




e-mail this site to a friend


Sustainability Science
People wanting to achieve a sustainable lifestyle must rely on the most informed understanding possible of the environment around them, commitment and love of home place, and the identification of long-term economic interests — needs, not wants — for establishing workable limits within nature’s way. Establishing limits based upon awareness for interconnections and appreciating the effectiveness of these limits constitutes the true practice of a sustainable lifestyle supported by our understanding of science that Five E's Unlimited promotes.

Simultaneous to the bioregional scale emphasis of problem-solving, a new field is beginning to emerge: the Science and Technology for Sustainability – or sustainability science – which integrates the physical, biological, and social sciences as well as medicine and engineering. Central questions that Five E's considers in the evolution of its work in science from a bioregional approach include:

  • How can the dynamic interactions between nature and society be better incorporated in emerging models and conceptualizations that integrate the Earth system, human development, and sustainability?
  • How are long-term trends in environment and development reshaping nature-society interactions in ways relevant to sustainability?
  • What determines the vulnerability or resilience of the nature-society system in particular kinds of places and for particular types of ecosystems and human livelihoods?
  • Can scientifically meaningful "limits" or "boundaries" be defined that would provide effective warning of conditions beyond which the nature-society systems incur a significantly increased risk of serious degradation?
  • How can today's relatively independent activities of research planning, observation, assessment, and decision support be better integrated into systems for adaptive management and societal learning, including the advancement of Citizen Science?

As scientific progress proceeds to build a greater capacity in sustainability science, the question of how better to integrate this progress with actual decision-making by practitioners remains paramount. Five E's Unlimited the concept of Citizen Science that will improve our understanding of the impediments to increased integration between science and assessment, on one hand, and policy and practice on the other, in order to begin to demonstrate means to enhance their integration. Case studies can examine successes and failures in past and ongoing efforts to achieve more effective interaction between the worlds of science and practice. What (if any) generalizations about “what works” in the design of effective knowledge systems can be carried over from place to place, or sector to sector, or problem to problem? This can best be determined by designing and carrying out sustainability science on a bioregional scale.

General Delivery, Placencia Village, Stann Creek District, Belize C.A. ---- Phone: (512) 256-7633 ---- e-mail: rwflint@eeeee.net

Copyright © 2005 - 2015 Five E's Unlimited - All Rights Reserved
Riversdale, Belize, Central America
Terms of Use & Privacy Statement

Last Update: 1/1/15
Web Author: Dr. R. Warren Flint